Sonia at her combative best
By Cithara Paul | ENS - NEW DELHI
09th August 2012 10:41 AM
UPA chairperson and Congress president Sonia Gandhi was in her combative best on Wednesday after BJP leader L K Advani called the government illegitimate.
Soon after all hell broke lose over Advani’s words, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde appealed to the BJP leader to withdraw the word. “Advani is a senior leader. We all respect him. But today he has said the entire election was illegitimate. This is an insult for all of us. I think he should withdraw his words,” Shinde said in his first intervention as Leader of the House.
Other BJP members, including Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj, came to Advani’s defence by saying that the senior leader was referring to the alleged cash-for-vote scam that saw BJP MPs displaying wads of cash in Lok Sabha, during a debate on the confidence motion, which they claimed was paid to them to vote in favour of the government.
But Treasury benches, including ministers, were not willing to buy that.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister P K Bansal pointed out that Advani was digressing from the issue on which he was allowed to speak.
”He has made extraneous remarks which has denigrated the Parliamentary system, the people and democracy,” Bansal said.
As both sides continued shouting at each other, Speaker Meira Kumar intervened and reminded Advani that she had allowed adjournment as people were concerned about the situation in Assam.
”But one word used by you has hurt the sentiments of everyone. If you want, you can withdraw it,” she said.
To which Advani said, “My comments were on the confidence vote and not on election. ... Those who were whistle-blowers were sent to jail,” he said, “I withdraw the word illegitimate.”
The din, however, continued and the Speaker adjourned the session for lunch.
Even after lunch, the atmosphere remained surcharged in House with Sonia seen interacting with MPs and ministers.
Opposition benches on the other hand, accused the Congress of making a mountain of a molehill and dragging the matter along, in spite of a senior leader like Advani withdrawing his words.
Some BJP members also warned that the House would not be allowed to function smoothly if the Congress’s attitude remained as it was.
When House reassembled after lunch, the Speaker observed that Advani had withdrawn his remarks and would not form part of the records.
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